By Staff Sgt. Zane Craig
FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – Approximately 50 Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen competed with rifles and pistols in multiple courses of fire during The Adjutant General’s (TAG) Combined Arms Match here Aug. 21-23.
The Guardsmen competed at a variety of individual and team events, including the combat rifle and pistol individual events, the individual “The odds are against you” event, the team Bianchi battle and the team Gen. George Patton combat pistol match.
The winner of each event was recognized in a small ceremony following the final event where the combined-arms individual overall champion and combined-arms team aggregate champions were announced. Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Harry Buchanan, the Pennsylvania National Guard's senior enlisted adviser, spoke to the participants and congratulated the winners with plaques and challenge coins.
“We’re encouraged at the numbers we’ve been able to attract to the competition,” said Carrelli, noting the participation seems to increase every year, more than doubling from 2019. “The average scores are also going up, which means our shooters are getting better.”
The combined-arms team aggregate champions, representing the 171st Air Refueling Wing were: Master Sgt. Scott Shay, Tech. Sgt. Shawn McCreary, Staff Sgt. Robert Lydic and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Yackovich.
The Airmen said they were proud to represent the Air Force in marksmanship by winning the TAG Match for the second consecutive year and a consistent history of strong performances.
The combined-arms individual overall champion was Army Sgt. Jason Goodling, who was also the top finisher in the Governor’s Twenty competition this year.
Goodling credits practice, repetition and knowing the matches and the times to beat for his success. He will be going on to compete at the regional competition here Aug. 29-30 with three other TAG match competitors.
The competition gathered participants from a variety of experiences and backgrounds, said Sgt. 1st Class Luke Heim, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division.
“Everyone from all ranks, MOS and experience levels are welcome to participate," Heim said. "It is a mentoring environment where you are really competing against yourself -- trying to best your top score.
“I shot my first match in 2011, and I was a sniper, but I have learned so much by participating in these events," he added. "You learn so much more about shooting by participating in competitions.”